The latest First Reads Goodreads giveaway book that this pedometer geek read was Jenny Colgan’s novel, The Bookshop on the Corner. It was originally published in the United Kingdom by Little, Brown Book Group under the title of The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After. Personally, this reader prefers the original UK title as it seems to represent the book better, but then perhaps, it wouldn’t have been read at all by me. Regardless, this was the first novel of hers this pedometer geek has read, but it probably won’t be the last. Fortunately, Colgan is the author of over sixteen titles. Here is the extended review.
The Bookshop on the Corner
by Jenny Colgan
Published by William Morrow, 2016
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” –Voltaire
This is the epigraph at the beginning of this novel. It definitely seems fitting as the protagonist becomes a bookseller, but that is getting ahead of the story.
As the blurb states: “Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion…and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.”
Nina, an out-of-work librarian, reinvents herself when the library she works for downsizes. She loves books and finding the right book for each person, and she pairs this talent into a mobile bookshop after she buys a van and stocks it with nearly new copies of books from libraries which are closing down.
In the process she moves to a hamlet in Scotland and travels to all the little villages in the area, plying her special book magic. Books are bought; people’s lives are transformed; and happy-ever-after do happen for her patrons. But will Nina find her happy-ever-after?
This is a feel good book that celebrates book lovers and the books that make an impact. Some real books are mentioned as well as some fake titles like Up on the Rooftops. This reader has to admit that this children’s book seemed like an awesome story, and in fact, was disappointed to find that it wasn’t available. Alas…
Characters are multi-faceted and realistic, and some were even a bit quirky. The two love interests of Nina were not the usual run of the mill males. Ainslee, her teenage helper, was a particular favorite. There are enough adventures that keep the story fresh and interesting, making this a magical read.
Here are a few quotes from the book that I found both interesting and philosophical.
“If you thought of all the tiny things that divert your path one way or another, some good, some bad, you’d never do anything ever again.” (page 27)
“Just do something. You might make a mistake, then you can fix it. But if you do nothing, you can’t fix anything. And your life might turn out to be full of regrets.” (page 40)
“There was a universe inside every human being every bit as big as the universe outside them.” (page 235)
Oh yeah, in regards to how fitting the epigraph is: obviously there are books galore, but there are a few dances as well.